Masculinities and femininities in Zimbabwean autobiographies of political struggle: the case of Edgar Tekere and Fay Chung

Ngoshi, Hazel T. (2013) Masculinities and femininities in Zimbabwean autobiographies of political struggle: the case of Edgar Tekere and Fay Chung.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02564718.2013.810871

Abstract

Because masculinities and femininities are socially and culturally constructed, they often play significant roles in constructing identities and distinguishing one another. Femininities and masculinities therefore play a key role in nation-building and in the sustenance of national identities. In this article I explore, through the autobiographies of two luminaries of Zimbabwe’s liberation war, how individual politicians configure their own gender identities and consequently the masculine and feminine identities of others. I posit that the autobiographical mode allows for intimate gendering of the liberation discourse. I also argue that Tekere celebrates the heroic masculine self, preferring military femininities to domestic ones. He privileges his own masculinity while “feminising” Robert Mugabe. Chung debunks the perceived manliness of political struggle and its representations by hailing the participation of women in the struggle for liberation. Her narration of their femininity is in relation to the nation and is structured around the struggle for national liberation, female emancipation and nation-building. Typical of female life-writing, Chung exhibits a relational sense of identity in which the autonomous self is subordinate to or subsumed in the collective. Hers becomes a projection and celebration of heroic femininities. I conclude this article by asserting that masculine and feminine identities in Zimbabwe’s political discourse remain bound up with the historical processes of colonial and nationalist liberation struggles.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Heroic femininities, masculinities
Divisions: Universities > State Universities > Midlands State University
Depositing User: Mr. Edmore Sibanda
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 22:04
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2017 22:04
URI: http://researchdatabase.ac.zw/id/eprint/5906

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